The Boss Wants Another Traffic Report
Standing athwart nostalgia, yelling "Art!" . . .
TALLULAH BANKHEAD: Well, darlings, we have just finished thirteen weeks of The Big Show. And each show an hour and a half. Now, you won't believe this, I'm sure, but I just found out there are shows on radio that are only one half hour each. (Pause.) I knew you wouldn't believe me, darlings. But on this show it takes a half an hour just to mention the names of the stars. Well, as a matter of fact, we thought we would save time by just referring to our stars just by their initials, you know, like, uh, Durante, Allen, and Holliday would be, uh, D-A-H. But we gave that up because, on next week's show, we were thinking of having Cantor, Berle, and Sinatra. (Pause; laughter.) I waited for you, darlings. So, you can see why using intials is out!
LEO DUROCHER: Out?! Whaddya mean, "out," ya ner---he was safe by a mile!
BANKHEAD: Leo Durocher! (applause.) OK, Durocher, simmer down, simmer down, you're not managing the Giants now at the Polo Grounds.
DUROCHER: Well, I'm sorry, but you said, "Out!" And certain . . . words in baseball, why, they upset me and I lose my head.
BANKHEAD: Yeah, I know . . . a word like ummm-pire, for instance. I think it's perfectly awful the way you treat the umpires.
DUROCHER (mock astonishment): Me? I don't bother the umps.
BANKHEAD: oh-ho-ho-ho, not much you don't. Why is it the minute the umpires walk out before every game, you make everybody at the Polo Grounds stand up and sing, "Oh, say, can you see . . . ?"
DUROCHER: Well, you know me, Tallulah. Baseball's in my blood.
BANKHEAD: Yeah, I thought you were rather lumpy. Now tell me, Leo, we Giant fans have been waiting fourteen long years, now. How does the pennant look this year?
DUROCHER: Ah, looks the same---it's powder blue, it kind of tapers off to a point, and I, uh---
BANKHEAD: Leo, I know what it looks like, darling. I've seen plenty of pennants at Ebbets Field. (Laughter, applause.) And, I'm going to see one flying over the Polo Grounds this year, am I? (Applause.) (Inaudible.)
DUROCHER: Well, Tallu, just give me one more good long ball hitter, and we'll win that pennant quicker than you can say "Jackie Robinson."
BANKHEAD: We can use him, too. No, but honestly, Leo, don't you think hoping to win a pennant this year is aiming, uh, too high---
DUROCHER (shouting, slightly backstage): Too high?! Why, that ball was right o---whaddya mean, "Too high"?!
BANKHEAD (mock sheepishness): Oh, darling, I'm so sorry I used another word that upsets you. Down, boy . . . easy, now . . . eeeeea-sy.
DUROCHER (returning to mike): Look, Tallulah, I'm not interested in talking baseball. This is my racket---that's what I'm interested in, acting.
BANKHEAD: Hah! Acting---you?
DUROCHER: Just a minute! Why the emphasis on you? This may surprise you, but I'm booked to star in my first play this summer. And it's gonna be a hit.
BANKHEAD: Oooh, your first play, and it's gonna be a hit.
DUROCHER: Yes, and then I'm going into my third play.
BANKHEAD: And you're going from your first play to your third?
DUROCHER: Sure. With a hit anybody can go from first to third.
BANKHEAD: So you're an actor. Does Laraine know about this?
DUROCHER: Laraine who?
BANKHEAD: Laraine Day, your wife.
DUROCHER: Oh---that Laraine Day.
LARAINE DAY: Yes, that Laraine Day. You remember me?
DUROCHER: Aw, hello, honey. (Applause.)
BANKHEAD: Laraine, darling, what is this routine about Leo wanting to become an actor?
DAY: Yes, I know. Leo B. Mayer, we call him around the house. Do you know what he does, Tallulah? He won't let me go to many ballgames. He makes me stay home and catch him on television. So I can tell him how good his acting was when he went out on the field to argue with an umpire.
DUROCHER: I'd like to see Dr. Kildare do as well.
BANKHEAD: Uh, tell me, Laraine---do you get upset, darling, when you see Leo go out to argue with an umpire?
DAY: Oh, no, not anymore. The minute I see him walk out, I start getting dinner. I know he'll be home early.
BANKHEAD: Baby, you must have early dinners quite often.
DAY: Well, when the Giants play a doubleheader, we . . . sometimes have dinner as early as . . . two o'clock in the afternoon.
DUROCHER: Now, wait a minute, Laraine---don't go giving the impression that I fight with all the umpires.
DAY: Well, no, not all of them. Much to my surprise, Tallulah, one night last week Leo came home with an umpire after the game. We had him for dinner.
DUROCHER: Yeah. Served on a platter with a baseball in his mouth. Boy, was he tasty.
DAY: Yes. That was the first umpire that ever agreed with Leo.
BANKHEAD: Laraine, it must be very exciting to be married to a man in baseball.
DAY: Well, it's like being married to a man in any other business. I talk to the players' wives and they tell me what kind of day their husbands had. Like Eddie Stanky's wife. She calls me very proudly and says, "Eddie had a very good day today. He walked, he singled, he tripled, and he was hit in the head by a pitched ball."
DUROCHER: Aw, I wish the women would stay out of my baseball business. They always talk a good game, I'd like to see them out there playing it.
BANKHEAD: If that's an offer, you can sign me now.
BANKHEAD: Why the em-pha-sis on you?!
DUROCHER: You wouldn't even know what to do. Now, look---if you were on third base and we needed one run to win, and it's the last of the ninth, there's one out, Lockman bunts, the pitcher comes in for the ball. Now, how would you get home?
BANKHEAD: Well, the same way I always get home, darling---I take a taxi.
DUROCHER: Ah, pretty smart, darling. Well, this'll stop you---suppose it's raining'n ya can't get a taxi.
BANKHEAD: Well, this'll shock you, Buster---when it rains, they don't play ball.
DAY: That oughta take care of him. Thanks, Tallulah, it's good to see somebody win an argument with Leo for a change.
BANKHEAD: Well, I must say, Laraine, that being the wife of a stormy baseball manager doesn't seem to have changed you very much. You still have that fresh, lovely, scrubbed look.
DAY: Why shouldn't I look scrubbed? Every time we have an argument, Leo sends me to the shower.
Miss Truman is a unique American phenomenon with a pleasant voice of little size and fair quality. She is extremely attractive on stage. Yet Miss Truman cannot sing very well. She is flat a good deal of the time---more so last night than at any time we have heard her in past years.
It is an extremely unpleasant duty to record such unhappy facts about so honestly appealing a person. But as long as Miss Truman sings as she has for three years, and does today, we seem to have no recourse unless it is to omit comment on her programs altogether.
I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclusion that you are an "eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay."
It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.
Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!
Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you'll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.
MARGARET TRUMAN: Hello, Fred. Do you remember me?
FRED ALLEN: Why, of course I do. I was on the show the last time you were on. Why, I even remember the song you sang, Margaret—“Love Is Where You Find It.” And I even remember that dress you wore. It was a green bouffant taffeta, caught at the neck with a Hershey bar.
BANKHEAD (high laugh).
ALLEN: Am I right?
TRUMAN: That’s remarkable, Fred.
ALLEN: Ohhhh, I have a memory like a jackass.
TRUMAN: You mean a memory like an elephant, don’t you?
ALLEN: Well, you vote your way and I’ll vote mine.
BANKHEAD: Margaret? You’ve met Portland Hoffa, darling.
TRUMAN: Certainly. Hello, Portland.
PORTLAND HOFFA: Hello . . . Excellency.
BANKHEAD: Margaret, it’s so nice to have you on our last show of the season. We’re disbanding for the summer, you know.
TRUMAN: Yes, I know. Where are you going to spend your summer, Tallulah?
BANKHEAD: Well, I haven’t quite made up my mind. I have a beautiful place in the country, but I had such a bad experience there last winter, when I went there for a weekend. I slipped on the ice and was laid up for two weeks . . . and how my foot ever got in that glass, I’ll never know.
ALLEN: Say, Tallulah.
ALLEN: Why don’t you pack your mink sleeping bag with the rhinestone zipper and come to visit us this summer? We have a very nice place in New Hampshire.
HOFFA: We’d love to have you, Tallulah. It’s beautiful country. On a clear day, you can see the Alps.
BANKHEAD (astonished): The Alps in New Hampshire?!
HOFFA: George and Betty Alps. They live about a mile down the road.
TRUMAN: I’d love to have you come with me, Tallulah. I’m thinking of going down to Key West for some sailing and fishing.
BANKHEAD: Oh! Key West—I’d adore that, I adore the ocean. And I’d like nothing better than to get up every morning at the crack of noon and go sailing.
TRUMAN: That’s good. I might even take some singing lessons down there.
BANKHEAD: Oh, but that’s wonderful, Margaret. Maybe I could take a few lessons, too. Oh, that sounds entrancing, sailing along Key West and singing.
ALLEN: That’s for you, Tallulah—singing off-key West.
BANKHEAD: Ah-hah-hah—isn’t he unemployed. (Pause.) Well, Margaret, how about a song from you?
TRUMAN: But Tallulah—I thought if I came on the program I could do some acting. I’m an actress now. Did you hear me on the radio with Jimmy Stewart in Jackpot?
BANKHEAD: Oh, I never listen to those quiz shows, dahling.
TRUMAN: No, it was a dramatic program. I acted a part. That’s what I think you can use on this show. An actress.
BANKHEAD (drops her voice an octave, mock indignance): Let’s not have any of that nonsense here, Maggie.
—Yeah, Duffy, I said “isn’t”. . . Well, “isn’t” is correct, ain’t it? . . . Well, look, I got to watch me diction. We’re having here of Mrs. Pendleton and a Lord Byron Ladies Literary Society . . . Literary Society, Duffy. It’s a club, y’know, where people who don’t know how to read listen to lectures by people who don’t know how to talk. Kind of a moron’s coffee klatsch. Well, da ladies is meetin’ here tonight for an open forum. It’s kind of a public discussion, y’know, this forum, where, uh, you know, if ya don’t agree with another speaker’s opinions, you—state your objections in a friendly, logical, intelligent manner, an’ then you clunk ‘em ovada head with a bun starter.
ARCHIE: ’Ullo, Duffy’s Taven, wheddyaleet meet ta eat’n drink Blatz beer*, Archieda manageh speakin’, Duffy ain’t here—oh, ‘ullo Duffy. . . eh? Well, I’m fixin’ up th’ joint fa Fodder’s Day . . . Yep. The one day’n th’ year when Pop gets a slap onda back insteaduva kick’n th’ pants . . . Whaddam I gonna do on Fodder’s Day? Thanks t’you—nuthin’ . . . How come? Well, it’s simple logic, Mr. Duffy . . . On th’ lousy fifteen bucksa week y’pay me, I can’t afford t’have a steady girl. Oigo, the steady girl I can’t afford t’have certainly ain’t gonna become a wife I can’t afford t’keep. So if this steady girl I can’t afford t’have won’t become a wife I can’t afford t’keep, she soitenly ain’t gonna have no kids I can’t afford t’support. Therefore, I bid you good day, homewrecker!
MISS DUFFY: Ah . . . say, Archie . . . uh . . . (stifling a giggle) . . . introduce me to Barry Nelson?
ARCHIE: Uh . . . oh, ok . . . Barry Nelson? Man with my face, meet Miss Duffy . . . who’s stuck with hers.
BARRY NELSON: How do you do.
MISS DUFFY: I’m happy to meet you.
NELSON: The pleasure is mutual, I’m sure.
MISS DUFFY (sighing): Gee, you’re cute.
NELSON: Thank you.
MISS DUFFY (sighing again): And you have such a manly face.
NELSON (awkward but courtly): Thank you . . . I—may I say the same for you.
ARCHIE: Oh, ‘ullo, Miss Duffy.
MISS DUFFY: I wanta getcher opinion. Whaddya think about this tie?
ARCHIE: Tie? Ah, for Fodder’s Day.
MISS DUFFY: (giggles) Yeah. D’ya think it’s good enough for ‘im?
ARCHIE: Yeah. I think it’ll serve him right.
MISS DUFFY: Whaddya think I should get ‘im to wear with it?
ARCHIE: A long beard. (Pause.) Miss Duffy, d’ya always hafta buy ties?
MISS DUFFY: Well, I dunno what else to buy. Papa’s so hard to please.
ARCHIE: ‘E’s hard to please, hah? Well, uh, whaddabout some cards, or maybe some poker chips?
MISS DUFFY: Mama won’t let Papa gamble.
ARCHIE: Oh. (Pause.) Then, how ‘bout a boxa cigars?
MISS DUFFY: Mama won’t let Papa smoke in the house.
ARCHIE: Oh, uh . . . then how ‘bout a nice—umbrella?
MISS DUFFY: Mama won’t let Papa outta the house.
ARCHIE: Guess yer right. Yer fodder is a pretty hard guy to please.
EDDIE: ‘Ay, Mister Archie?
ARCHIE: Aw, don’t disturb me now, Eddie.
EDDIE: But this is important! The roof is leakin’ again!
ARCHIE: Howdya know?
EDDIE: A customer just finished the same bowl of soup three times.
ARCHIE: Well? So what? Is the guy complainin’?
EDDIE: Naturally! He didn’t mind the first time, when it was tomato soup, or the second time, when it was consummate. But now they ain’t nothin’ in that bowl but water.
ARCHIE: Well, if ’e squawks again, tellim it’s a finger bowl.
ARCHIE: Yeah, Eddie, I been doin’ a lotta thinkin’ lately. I been taking inventory of meself.
EDDIE: Uuhhh, how much you short?
ARCHIE: Whaddya doing with them two candles stuck in yours ears?
FINNEGAN: Ehh? I’m sorry, Arch, I can’t hear ya. I got two candles stuck in my ears.
ARCHIE: Well, takem out.
ARCHIE: Takem out.
FINNEGAN: I’m sorry, Arch. I can’t hear ya. I got two candles stuck in my—
ARCHIE: Well, read my lips.
FINNEGAN: OK. Go ahead.
FINNEGAN: I’m sorry, Arch, I just remembered—I can’t read.
ARCHIE (removing the candles himself): How come you had two candles stuck in your ears?
FINNEGAN: Well, I wuz standin’ waist deep in water. Where else could I puttem?
LES PAUL: Hello, hello everyone, this is Les Paul speaking, and with me I have mawife Mary—MARY FORD: Hi!PAUL: —and my git-tar. Uhhh . . . for the benefit of any new listeners who may have just tuned in, I’d like to mention that this program comes from our home, and that I have a room here just loaded with electronic gadgets—amplifiers, echo chambers, transformers, six L-6s—FORD: Let me tell ‘em, Les, you’re a genius.PAUL: Aw, don’t say that—FORD: Oh, yes, you are—PAUL: You’re embarrassing me—aFORD: Anyone who can take one guitar and make it sound like six is a genius.PAUL: Any guy can do the same thing.---From The Les Paul Show, 11 July 1950, NBC.
FORD: Oh, no one else can even play like you, much less make it sound like six people.PAUL: Well, I—all I like to do is get on the floor with a screwdriver and some tools and tinker around.FORD: Aww, but you’re really a genius.PAUL: No, I’m just a big tinker.FORD: O-K, you’re just a big tinker.PAUL: Oh. (Pause.) I shoulda quit when I was ahead.
PAUL: Mary, I got a hunch that if I could take one guitar and make it sound like six guitars, I can make your voice—my wife—sound like six people.FORD: That sounds like my husband—he eats like six people.PAUL: But I’m your husband.FORD: Which reminds me—if you don’t get a screwdriver and put that plug back in the electric stove . . . well, no cookin’.PAUL: Oh, you don’t mean that all I’ve go—FORD: I can’t give you anything but love.PAUL: Well, that’s our cue for the next song.
PAUL: Hi, folks.SFX: (workshop sounds--tapping, hammering, etc.)PAUL: Mary, would you hand me that pipe wrench?SFX: (ringing clank)FORD: Here.PAUL: Uh, that's my wife, Mary.FORD: Thanks.PAUL: All right, stand back. I'm gonna turn it on.SFX: (small whooshing gas jet)FORD: That letter from the gas company sure started something . . . (SFX: continuing small hissing gas jet) . . . Of all the guitar players in the world, I had to pick someone who isn't satisfied with an electric guitar. He has to build the first gas guitar.SFX: (continuing small hissing gas jet)PAUL: Say, would you hand me the screwdriver?FORD: Here's a screwdriverPAUL: Uh---oil rag?FORD: Oil rag.PAUL: Monkey wrench?FORD: Monkey wrench.PAUL: Match?FORD: Death certificate.
Writing is not an occupation nor is it a profession. Bad writing can be, and often is, an occupation; but I agree with the government that writing in the pure sense and in noblest form is neither an occupation nor a profession. It is more of an affliction, or just punishment. It is something that raises up on you, as a welt.
It doesn’t have a clean-cut sound. It is Jekyll and Hyde stuff, lacks an honest ring. In war it is better to be a clean-cut man: a hammersmith plain, a riveter simple, a born upholsterer, an inveterate loftsman, a single-hearted multipurpose machine operator. To be farmer and writer suggests a fickleness of character out of key with the war effort. To produce, in a single week, seventy dozen table eggs and a twenty-six-hundred-word article sounds confused, immature, and smacks of divided loyalty.
Allied air reconnaissance fliers have returned to the scene of a battle which began on the northern French coastline early this morning to report that several beachheads have now been established. Allied forces are splashing their way inland from these beachheads, according to reconnaissance photos. At the same time, Allied parachute troops dropped behind the enemy lines last month are disrupting enemy defence systems and waiting to join forces with the troops pouring ashore on the beaches.Prime Minister [Winston] Churchill told [the House of] Commons that more than four thousand ships, together with many thousand smaller craft, are transporting the invasion force across the channel. Churchill declared that the invasion is proceeding, and we quote, according to a plan---and what a plan.At Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force, it’s reported that German destroyers and U-boats are rushing into the operational area off the northern coast of France, and no doubt are being dealt with by the Allies. Incidentally, the initials of these headquarters are SHAEF. And you’re going to get mighty familiar with them.An Allied military commentator at SHAEF declared this morning that H hour for the invasion ranged from six to eight a.m. European time. Another report from that same source revealed that American battleships are supporting the Allied landing, with United States Coast Guard units also participating in the operation.The British bombing command send more than thirteen hundred of its heaviest bombers roaring across the channel last night, and this morning, for a saturation attack on the invasion area.And now, here are some last-minute bulletins: Allied troops have landed on the channel islands of Guernsey and Jersey, according to a German broadcast. The same enemy source says Allied tanks have landed midway between Cherbourg and Lahava, but that the greatest concentrations of landing craft have been observed off the two ports themselves. Earlier enemy broadcasts said Cannes was the focal point of the entire attack, and that the drive inland is aimed at the city of Paris.And, just a few moments ago, this news came from Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces: Casualties among Allied airborne troops on France have been light. We’ll repeat that, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces: Casualties among Allied airborne troops on France have been light.
Here in our own country, reaction from coast to coast was similar. People kept on working overnight shifts in shipyards and other factories, and went to work as usual this morning. But everyone seems to be more serious, and many stopped in their tasks long enough to offer prayer for the success of the Allied effort.Perhaps most dramatic of all was the ringing of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. The ancient bell was struck six times, as Philadelphia’s mayor Bernard Samuels read the famous inscription, ‘Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.’
Well, German propagandists asserted today that, despite the invasion of Western Europe, life continued normal in Berlin, no excitement, no additions, no special radio announcement. But a part of these assertions, obviously, were rather false. From the time of the first landings, a constant stream of broadcasts came from the German transmitters, many of them carrying more than an indication that Hitler’s defences along the western coast had been caught napping.
It waited fifteen years for serious researchers, and it has had few competent critics. Almost none of the serial writers has saved his scripts. If the more than four thousand scripts (eight million words) of Just Plain Bill, the oldest serial now on the air, had been saved, they would fill twenty trunks, and the entire wordage of soap opera to date, roughtly two hundred seventy-five million words, would fill a good-sized library.